I got an opportunity to keep a 2021 Tesla Model X Long Range Plus for an overnight test drive in late December last year.
Pros - what we liked about the SUV
Cons - what didn't like so much
- I am a current owner of a 2016 Tesla Model S 75D - fully loaded with the premium package and all options except the upgraded stereo (more speakers, amp and sub).
- I picked up the car at 6:00 PM on a weekday and had to return it by 2:00 PM the next day. I didn't drive it much the day I got it, just a bit on the highway on the drive home from the local Tesla service center.
- I did however get to drive it for about 350 km/220 miles the next day. I parked the SUV on my driveway as my car was in the garage and I plugged it in to my 32 amp charger (charges at the rate of 40 km/25 miles per hour) and set the max charge to 100% for our trip the next day. It was already charged to about 60% when I got it and at 100% charge it had 601 km/373 miles of indicated range (see first pic below). This was very cool to see as my 2016 Model S 75D now has 395 km/245 miles max indicated range (original max range back in 2016 for a 75D was 417 km/259 miles).
- We left home about at 5:30 AM (ambient temp was 5 C/ 41 F) as we needed to drive about 1.5 hours to get to a point where my older son could ride back home on his bike starting at sunrise. His goal that day was to ride 180 km/112 miles. He's a hard core biking guy (some pics attached below) and would not take the highway back, but mainly secondary roads, hence the distance was more for him compared to the drive there in the SUV.
- The drive to the drop off point was a good mix of highway and secondary roads and we got to experience the SUV fairly well in terms of driving dynamics, comfort, ease of use and practicality (my sons bike was in the car with the 3 of us of course).
Pros - what we liked about the SUV
- Visibility as expected in a big vehicle like this with lots of glass is very good and more than adequate - The windshield that extends all the way back to the back of your head (front row seats) is simply astounding. The "vertical" panoramic view is second to none and is a major selling point of this vehicle. It feels as if you're driving a vehicle that has no windsheild as there is nothing in front of you to block your forward vision. The only thing attached to the windshield is the rear view mirror and the sun visors. We drove the vehicle before sunrise and on the way back home the sun was behind us, so I cannot comment on how it would feel when driving "into" the sun. The sun visors would shield your eyes of course and I know that in my car when the sun is overhead, you don't really feel the effect of direct sunlight as in it's too much unless you're sitting in the car for long periods on a trip. So I would conclude it should be ok in the X as well.
- Very practical
- the 2nd row seats (we had the 5 seat config - the six-seat configuration has second-row captain's chairs that do not fold) lay down flat and the space in the back is very spacious and easy to stow very large items (88 cubic feet which includes the small frunk space) - from the rear hatch door as well as through the Falcon wing doors. Ingress and egress into the second row is very good as expected with the falcon wing doors.
- I'm 5 ft. 9.5 inches tall and there was over a foot of space above my head and tons of elbow room in the front. Leg room and overal space in the 2nd row of seats is very good as well.
- Power - not much to add here as this is an expensive EV with the much more power than you need. This version can hit 60 mph in 4.4 seconds - that's sports car performance in a massive, very tall vehicle.
- Drivetrain - the buttery smooth power delivery that is instantaneous, relentless and almost telepathic in it's delivery is second to none. The best part is that it always feels so completely effortless as there is no straining/loud engine sound that accompanies forward movement. It's single handedly the best aspect of any Tesla! This sentence never really conveys how a Tesla feels to drive and unless you actually drive one, you won't appreciate this point in full. It's like having a first born, you can only describe it so much, but unless you have a kid for yourself, you can't fully appreciate it.
- Comfort - Tesla completely revamped/changed the air suspension in the Model X and S starting in May 2019. It's an active suspension now (as opposed to the "regular" air suspension in my car). This updated suspension system was one of the most significant updates made to the Model S and X back in 2019 - called the "Raven" refresh (among other fairly significant updates such as a new permanent magnet synchronous reluctance motor, and it's both more efficient and more powerful than the induction motor that used to sit at the front of Model S and X. It's rear axle motor from the Model 3 Performance). I left the suspension in default comfort mode (it automatically lowers above a certain speed to increase aerodynamic efficiency and handling) and it was very comfortable and handles very well for it's size considering how most owners would drive it. We're not talking about taking a tall SUV that weighs almost 5500 lbs to the track.
- Real world range keeping in mind that the temp was close to freezing and we didn't try to be efficient - we drove at 125 - 130 kph/75 to 80 mph on the highway, made a lot of stops after we dropped off our son as the sun was rising and we got this insane "burn" in the sky from the sun and clouds to get some pictures (we had intended to catch the sunrise and had our camera equipment with us). We constantly changed the position of the SUV to get different composition angles, had the heat going all the time etc. We started off with 601 km /373 miles and drove it for a total distance of about 350 km/218 miles. When we dropped it off back at the Tesla SC it had an indicated 130 km / 80 miles left. So total range would have likely been a tad under 500 km/ 310 miles. Not bad at all considering how it was driven that morning.
- Interior fit and finish - no review is complete without talking about the infamous quality of fit and finish in a Tesla. This particular SUV was very well put together, there were no miss-aligned panels or loose trim. I didn't take any pictures to prove this, so take my word for it, or not.
Cons - what didn't like so much
- Noise - wind and road noise was very noticeable. I'm comparing this my S which is very quiet - it has very good road and wind noise suppression. This was my biggest pet peeve - it almost felt as if the vehicle didn't have any insulation against road noise. I suspect wind noise was much more noticeable compared to my car because the SUV is fairly tall unlike my car. Having said that however, on a vehicle that costs over $80K, this "con" could be a lot less.
- Vegan interior - Tesla does not use real leather anymore and the seats didn't feel as nice as the leather in my car, however the "vegan leather" didn't feel cheap or down scale. Seats were very comfortable and supportive. The headliner and dash cover are suede/alcantara in my car and on this X it was some other material that didn't feel as upscale as my car. Clearly this is Tesla cost-cutting - which is odd considering how expensive it is. I won't speculate as to what the reasons are for this other than to improve the bottom line to survive. I think Tesla has also received this feedback from the general public and there are rumors it will be addressed in the latest refresh of both the Model S and X.
- Awesome vehicle - very practical and spacious, comfortable, great range and well put together. It didn't feel as upscale as it should in this price bracket.
- My wife really loved it for the insanely massive front windshield and the cool Falcon wing doors. I prefer my Model S however.